HR Analytics and Workforce Analytics: What’s the Difference?
HR analytics is a subset of HR management and encompasses workforce analysis. It is carried out by the HR team to get insights that help improve the HR process. HR analytics
looks at things like vacancies, cost per hire, compliance concerns, and many other things that affect businesses.
On the other hand, workforce analytics and planning are subsets of HR analytics. It is the process of analyzing data that directly impacts the work experience, like workflows and processes, technology used, and performance. Workforce analysis is based on employee data analysis and can be used for strategic workforce planning, talent management, and staffing decisions. Its main goal is to align the HR process with the overall business objectives.
A case in point is Lowe’s, a premier retail home improvement chain that used workforce analysis to drive up customer satisfaction. The organization conducted a detailed analysis that revealed a link between employee engagement
and customer experience. When employee engagement with customers was higher, customers at Lowe’s reported a better store experience and a 4% increase in spending. There are many such workforce analytics examples that prove the business value of using workforce planning.
How Workforce Planning Analytics Impacts HR Processes
Data analytics is in high demand due to its proven ability to produce actionable insights and shape robust policies. Workforce planning analytics is like data analytics as that it can deliver critical insights into the workforce. It can help uncover patterns across the employee lifecycle and assist HR in developing initiatives and policies that enhance HR processes.
Here are the three core areas that the workforce analysis process can influence:
Workforce analysis has the power to transform the hiring process. The data and metrics mapped by HR teams can be used to inform decisions about the sourcing, hiring, and management of talent. Some of the use cases include:
Screens and shortlists resume automatically
Conduct social media background checks
Shortlist candidates based on applicant information
Identify star talent based on talent and skills of existing top performers
Eliminate gender-biased recruitment practices by training better algorithms
Employee retention is an integral aspect of HR. With workforce planning analytics, the HR team can develop and view insights on how hiring, training, and work experience affect employees’ decisions to stay at a company. Use cases include:
Reporting and fixing compensation packages for over-performers
Identifying at-risk or barely engaged employees
Mapping productivity and performance
The workforce analysis process is especially vital in managing performance and organizational skillset mapping. Some of the use cases you can look forward to are:
Workforce Analytics and Planning Checklist
The use of workforce planning and analytics is growing across industries. It is the practice of gathering and analyzing data about employees to make decision-making more effective. And every data analysis project needs the right start and the right software to be successful. Before your HR team rolls out a workforce analysis process, the following checklist will help them address some critical concerns about the objectives, approach, and future of the workforce analysis results. Here are some checklist items to tick off:
Business Goals and Objectives
Defining the business outcome, goals, and objectives of the project will provide your team with clarity at every stage of the data analysis. It will also help you summarize the problems faced by the workforce and whether the project will be able to address them. Ask questions like:
What business goals are we looking to address with workforce data?
What is the desired outcome of our workforce analysis process?
Workforce Project Statement
Draft a workforce project statement using existing research, internal studies, and insights from subject matter experts. This will help you develop a testable hypothesis before your team begins interpreting the data they collect.
List out the stakeholders of the project to ensure ownership and accountability are established within the team
Project stakeholders must know who is assigned to what action items, with individual assignments contributing to the overall project outcome
Workforce Planning Analytics Action Items
Build a communication plan
Conduct a workforce gap analysis using the existing data
Determine workforce planning analytics KPIs and targets
Measuring Workforce Analysis Findings
Develop dashboards, reports, and visual expression of findings
Provide project stakeholders clarity through graphic representation of key data points
“People are learning how to do work disparately and with far less oversight. They are learning via remote, virtual formats. They are using analytics and following automated seamless internal processes. The need to constantly upskill and relearn has led to a huge disruption in the workforce ecosystem.”
- Ravi Kikan, Director – Marketing, Online Sales & Growth at ZingHR
Workforce Analytics and Planning Tools
Workforce planning and analytics have evolved immensely with the use of new technologies and modern innovations. From cloud computing to machine learning, employee data analysis has become more accurate and easier than ever. Here are some of the most prominent workforce analysis tools today:
Strategic Planning Map
A strategic workforce planning map aligns HR with the overall business strategy through a top-down approach.
It is a software that uses factors such as market trends, patterns, and competition to display graphical insights that can then be used in HR areas like performance management, rewards and recognition, and even hiring.
The 9-box grid is a succession planning tool that uses visuals to discuss and review an employee’s performance. It is basically a performance management tool that helps HR teams communicate an individual’s potential and work status to their manager.
The HR dashboard is an HR professional’s best friend. It provides a consolidated overview of key data points sourced from various core areas like hiring, payroll, performance, attrition, and much more.
There are several HR dashboarding tools available, including BambooHR, Gusto, WebHR, and Dayforce.
Conclusion: Why Investing in your Workforce Matters More than Ever?
Today's workplace is changing fast. As the economy needs smarter, more skilled employees than ever before, there is a greater need for investment in one of the most critical assets: the workforce.
Investing in your workforce can be a significant investment for any organization. However, it pays off in the long run. Efficient workforce planning and analytics can help you transform your HR process for the better. After all, it helps you be more productive by lowering costs and eventually boosting revenue. It also helps with reducing turnover rates and aligns your workforce with the larger goals and visions of your organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the challenges of workforce planning?
There are many challenges to workforce planning. For one, it is difficult to predict the future of the workforce. The main challenge lies in forecasting and analyzing workforce data in a way that provides an accurate picture.
What are the benefits of workforce planning analytics?
There are many benefits of workforce planning analytics, including:
Helping a company better understand their employees and what they want from their jobs
Providing insights on when to hire new employees
Identifying which skillsets, the organization needs to train for the future
Providing a plan to manage employees and giving them growth opportunities.
How does workforce planning help with business growth?
Workforce analysis is important for companies to plan and make sure that they have a well-equipped workforce. It also helps them look for new opportunities where they can grow their business.